Mute Swans @ Kingsbridge Estuary

3 recent photographs of Mute Swans on Kingsbridge Estuary.  

The first photo shows a Cob drinking what is assumed to be a thin layer of fresh water from a stream which forms a stratified layer lying above the salt water of the estuary in the absence of any wave or wind generated turbulence.

In the second photo (one of a landing sequence) the cob has rounded out within a few centimetres of the surface of the estuary, about to touch down 0.1 seconds later.

In the third photograph, the two pens are taking off ahead of the cob.  The left wing of the lead bird is just clipping the surface, although she was probably the first to get airborne.  The two swans behind her are flying in her slip stream, gaining aerodynamic benefit from her tip vortices.  The cob appears to have gained most height.  By flying low, all 3 birds gain advantage from the 'ground' effect.

Cob drinking from surface freshwater stratified layer Cob greasing his landing on the sea Cob follows 2 Pens taking off 
Cob drinking from surface freshwater stratified layer  Cob greasing his landing on the sea

Cob follows 2 Pens taking off

Posted January 12th, 2018 at 11:19 am by Michael Woodman Smith in Bird News